Y'know, I don't drop by this particular part of the forum often (and I don't even post on the forum in general as much these days), but I decided I had some things I have to say.
I honestly wouldn't have expected that. Alright, fair enough! Maybe I'm too cynical sometimes.
Obviously there are crazies out there, but most conservatives don't fall into those categories, just like most liberals aren't extremists in their own way. Most conservatives just want the law followed in court cases based on both federal and state constitutions. And that's where the difference resides. Liberals want what they deem is the "right" way, whereas conservatives aren't as focused on right vs. wrong and are moreso focused on the constitution and laws written as is. We just want the law followed to the letter. If the law has a loophole that someone can get away with something wrong, then it is what it is until said law is changed. We fall into this side because a WHOLE lot more damage could be done in society by subjective interpretations of law based on heightened emotions than can be done by following the law so closely that people get away with horrible things.
You might believe that. A handful of others might genuinely believe that. But from what I've observed, conservatives writ large often don't believe in the law as a matter of principle, i.e., as something needed for an orderly society. Rather, they believe the law is a tool, or more appropriately a weapon, one to be manipulated to maximize their power. When a rule suit their purposes, they like that rule, no matter how unfair that rule is. But when a rule works against them, they seek to change the rule. And they often function as "rules lawyers," caring less about the spirit of the law than they do about the letter of the law.
Mitch McConnell has given us one of the most clear demonstrations of this with his approach towards judicial nominees. From the Merrick Garland debacle on up to the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, the GOP has shown that they're now at the point where if they control the Senate, a sitting Democratic president will never get any Supreme Court (and maybe lower federal court) nominees confirmed in the event of a vacancy, because even though doing so is a violation of previous precedent, it's not technically illegal. It was never about any sort of lofty principle. It was always about maximizing their power by whatever means they can get away with, and shady-and-scummy-but-legal means are fine by them.
Or just look at the conservative approach to electoral systems. While gerrymandering is something both parties have done, the GOP does it far more frequently and obviously in recent decades. It's not technically illegal to draw a map that grotesquely favors one party over the other, so they think it's fine. And then there's the Electoral College. The vast majority of Americans prior to 2000 wanted the Electoral College abolished regardless of their political leanings, but over the past 20 years conservative support for the EC has swung wildly. They went from majority support after the 2000 election, to majority opposition to it under Obama, then back to majority support after the 2016 election. Polling results on the issue have demonstrated that conservative support for the EC depends on whether they think it works for them or not.
Speaking of the Electoral College, when conservatives felt it was working against them during the Obama years, GOP politicians in states like Michigan, which had consistently voted Democratic for many elections despite having a GOP-controlled legislature, suggested changing their state's EC vote allocation rules from winner-take-all to the Maine-Nebraska system, which would result in Republican candidates getting a good number of a state's electoral votes despite losing the statewide vote (something that could be exacerbated by gerrymandering). Anything to alter, manipulate, and exploit the rules to unfairly advantage themselves. They'd obviously never do that in a state like, say, Indiana or Texas (though we'll see about the latter if and when that state flips blue).
Of course, ever since the Trump administration, their "law & order" rhetoric rings hollow. It's becoming increasingly clear that their belief in even the letter of the law is and probably was always a completely conditional thing. I'm not talking about the penny-ante shit I see on a daily basis, where "law & order conservatives" do things like drive recklessly or pirate movies (because let's be honest: most people regardless of political persuasion will flout the rules when they think it serves them, when they think it's not a big deal, and when they think that the risk and severity of punishment is low). I'm not even talking about individual Republican politicians breaking the law, which is nothing new.
No, I'm talking about how Trump has normalized people acting like petulant children or even engaging in outright violence. This started with his rallies back when he was just a candidate running for GOP nominee, and culminated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, which stemmed from his constant conspiracy theories. The redhat brigade has also shown over the course of the pandemic that they don't give half a shit about rules regarding masks, etc., putting the lives of others needlessly at risk because of pure selfishness. A lawless man has fostered an increasingly lawless base utterly loyal to him. He basically burned down the facade of caring about the law and essentially said "It's okay to do whatever you want so long as it benefits me!"
Conservatives were unusually quiet about, say, the actions of Cliven Bundy and his associates, which already kinda made their supposed belief in "law and order" suspect, but their continued support for Trump in the wake of the Capitol attack and refusal to condemn those events, some of them going so far as to make up conspiracies to try to deflect from the horrific reality of the situation (because of course they would), demonstrates to me that, broadly, the American right-wing simply doesn't give a shit about the law in the abstract. They'll just flat-out break it in broad daylight with everybody watching and dare anyone to hold them accountable, and they'll rig the system to avoid that accountability as much as possible. That the GOP and the MAGA crowd have gone all-in on Trump and let him and his allies get away with their part in 1/6 makes that abundantly clear.
The conservative approach to law seems to be summed up by this comment that's made the rounds on the internet over the past several years:
"Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect."
In other words, the conservative attitude is "The law doesn't exist to tell me what to do. It exists to tell those... other people what to do."
Of course, this all has a good long history behind it. Their counterparts from a century ago would, if Jim Crow laws wouldn't help them get their way, often simply go "fuck it" and resort to lynching and other forms of violence and intimidation. "Law & order" made for nice propaganda when "uppity black folks" decided to protest against Jim Crow, but at the end of the day the law was in their mind always something that existed primarily to protect white Americans (some exceptions may apply) and the power of capital (don't think I forgot about that part) and to control non-white Americans... or non-straight Americans or anyone else deemed part of an out-group. That basic mentality has for the most part continued to carry on for the decades since the end of Jim Crow. You spend enough time living in the South (as I've done for the entire 41+ years I've been alive) and you see and hear it regularly. There's nothing new under the Sun.
*Edited for typos and incomplete sentences & thoughts. I was in a rush when I wrote this.*
Smollett's attacker has been found guilty
Way to poison the well, buddy.
It's clear that crap like this that I've seen making the rounds exists purely to delegitimize the movement for racial and social justice. So Smollett turned out to be a liar. So what? He'll pay for his actions, but his actions do not diminish calls to fight against racism, homophobia, and other forms of injustice. There was no reason for anyone to believe he was lying until evidence materialized that showed he was. And just because he lied doesn't mean the countless other violent acts towards minorities or the LGBT community were fabrications, either.
Last edited by Shadow1980 - on 13 December 2021